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Open data can drive partnerships with government

By Andy Oram
March 24, 2014

As governments and businesses — and increasingly, all of us who are Internet-connected — release data out in the open, we come closer to resolving the tiresomely famous and perplexing quote from Stewart Brand: “Information wants to be free. Information …

The RSA/NSA controversy concerns you!

By Jeffrey Carr
February 18, 2014

As a cyber security author and CEO of a security consulting company, I was personally shocked by the RSA’s attitude about the alleged secret payments it received from the NSA as well as its willingness to weaken its BSAFE product; …

The public front of the free software campaign: part I

By Ezra Haber Glenn
December 10, 2013

At a recent meeting of the MIT Open Source Planning Tools Group, I had the pleasure of hosting Zak Rogoff — campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation — for an open-ended discussion on the potential for free and open …

Sprinting toward the future of Jamaica

By Alex Howard
April 18, 2013

Creating the conditions for startups to form is now a policy imperative for governments around the world, as Julian Jay Robinson, minister of state in Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, reminded the attendees at the “Developing the …

Strata Week: Our phones are giving us away

By Jenn Webb
March 29, 2013

Mobile phone mobility traces ID users with only four data points A study published this week by Scientific Reports, Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility, shows that the location data in mobile phones is posing an …

Four short links: 28 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 28, 2013

What American Startups Can Learn From the Cutthroat Chinese Software Industry — It follows that the idea of “viral” or “organic” growth doesn’t exist in China. “User acquisition is all about media buys. Platform-to-platform in China is war, and it …

The City of Chicago wants you to fork its data on GitHub

By Alex Howard
March 19, 2013

GitHub has been gaining new prominence as the use of open source software in government grows. Earlier this month, I included a few thoughts from Chicago’s chief information officer, Brett Goldstein, about the city’s use of GitHub, in a piece …

GitHub gains new prominence as the use of open source within governments grows

By Alex Howard
March 8, 2013

When it comes to government IT in 2013, GitHub may have surpassed Twitter and Facebook as the most interesting social network.  GitHub’s profile has been rising recently, from a Wired article about open source in government, to its high profile …

White House moves to increase public access to scientific research online

By Alex Howard
February 22, 2013

Today, the White House responded to a We The People e-petition that asked for free online access to taxpayer-funded research. As part of the response, John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, released …

Personal data ownership drives market transparency and empowers consumers

By Alex Howard
February 13, 2013

On Monday morning, the Obama administration launched a new community focused on consumer data at While there was no new data to be found among the 507 datasets listed there, it was the first time that smart disclosure has …

Four short links: 13 February 2013

By Nat Torkington
February 13, 2013

CA Assembly Bill No. 292 — This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create …

Investing in the open data economy

By Alex Howard
February 5, 2013

If you had 10 million pounds to spend on open data research, development and startups, what would you do with it? That’s precisely the opportunity that Gavin Starks (@AgentGav) has been given as the first CEO of the Open Data …

Open data economy: Eight business models for open data and insight from Deloitte UK

By Alex Howard
January 28, 2013

When I asked whether the push to free up government data was resulting in economic activity and startup creation, I started to receive emails from people around the United States and Europe. I’ll be publishing more of what I learned …

We’re releasing the files for O’Reilly’s Open Government book

By Laurel Ruma
January 18, 2013

I’ve read many eloquent eulogies from people who knew Aaron Swartz better than I did, but he was also a Foo and contributor to Open Government. So, we’re doing our part at O’Reilly Media to honor Aaron by posting the …

U.S. House makes legislative data more open to the people in XML

By Alex Howard
January 11, 2013

It was a good week for open government data in the United States Congress. On Tuesday, the Clerk of the House made House floor summaries available in bulk XML format. Yesterday, the House of Representatives announced that it will make …

Big, open and more networked than ever: 10 trends from 2012

By Alex Howard
December 22, 2012

In 2012, technology-accelerated change around the world was driven by the wave of social media, data and mobile devices. In this year in review, we look back at some of the stories that mattered here at Radar and look ahead …

The United States (Code) is on Github

By Alex Howard
December 6, 2012

When Congress launched in beta, they didn’t open the data. This fall, a trio of open government developers took it upon themselves to do what custodians of the U.S. Code and laws in the Library of Congress could have …

Investigating data journalism

By Alex Howard
November 26, 2012

Great journalism has always been based on adding context, clarity and compelling storytelling to facts. While the tools have improved, the art is the same: explaining the who, what, where, when and why behind the story. The explosion of data, …

Charging up: Networking resources and recovery after Hurricane Sandy

By Alex Howard
November 2, 2012

Even though the direct danger from Hurricane Sandy has passed, lower Manhattan and many parts of Connecticut and New Jersey remain a disaster zone, with millions of people still without power, reduced access to food and gas, and widespread damage …

The missing ingredient from hyperwired debates: the feedback loop

By Alex Howard
October 3, 2012

What a difference a season makes. A few months after widespread online frustration with a tape-delayed Summer Olympics, the 2012 Presidential debates will feature the most online livestreams and wired, up-to-the-second digital coverage in history. Given the pace of technological …

Congress launches in beta, doesn’t open the data

By Alex Howard
September 19, 2012

The Library of Congress is now more responsive — at least when it comes to web design. Today, the nation’s repository for its laws launched a new beta website at and announced that it would eventually replace, the …

President Obama participates in first Presidential AMA on Reddit

By Alex Howard
August 29, 2012

Starting around 4:30 PM ET today, President Barack Obama made history by going onto Reddit to answer questions about anything for an hour. Reddit, one of the most popular social news sites on the Internet, has been hosting “Ask Me …

With new maps and apps, the case for open transit gets stronger

By Alex Howard
August 13, 2012

Earlier this year, the news broke that Apple would be dropping default support for transit in iOS 6. For people (like me) who use the iPhone to check transit routes and times when they travel, that would mean losing a …

Palo Alto looks to use open data to embrace ‘city as a platform’

By Alex Howard
August 2, 2012

In the 21st century, one of the strategies cities around the world are embracing to improve services, increase accountability and stimulate economic activity is to publish open data online. The vision for New York City as a data platform earned wider …

Mobile participatory budgeting helps raise tax revenues in Congo

By Alex Howard
July 30, 2012

In a world awash in data, connected by social networks and focused on the next big thing, stories about genuine innovation get buried behind the newest shiny app or global development initiative. For billions of people around the world, the …

Mr. Issa logs on from Washington

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

An interview with Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) on open government, personal data ownership, a digital Bill of Rights, Internet freedom, regulation, and more.

Rethinking regulatory reform in the Internet age

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

As the cover story of a February issue of The Economist highlighted, concerns about an over-regulated America are cresting in this election year, with headlines from that same magazine decrying “excessive environmental regulation” and calling for more accurate measurement of …

Do citizens have a ‘right to record’ in the digital age?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

When Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and I talked this summer about his proposal for a digital Bill of Rights, I followed up by asking him about whether it might be more productive to focus on the rights that we already …

Should the Freedom of Information Act extend to data in private companies?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which gives the people and press the right to access information from government, is one of the pillars of open government in the modern age. In the United States, FOIA is relatively new — …

Does the Open Government Partnership merit more oversight and attention?

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

There are any number of responsibilities and challenges inherent in moving forward with the historic Open Government Partnership (OGP) that officially launched last September. Global Integrity’s recent assessment of the National Action plans submitted to the Open Government Partnership by …

Uncertain prospects for the DATA Act in the Senate

By Alex Howard
July 25, 2012

The old adage that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is often applied to organizations in today’s data-drenched world. Given the enormity of the United States federal government, breaking down the estimated $3.7 trillion dollars in the 2012 budget …

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